A river snakes through the mountains that dramatically tower over the surrounding countryside. If it sounds like the description of a scene from Guilin, think again, as it’s actually a description of the landscape of Fujian Province’s Wuyishan.
Wuyishan is a small town situated inland, hundreds of miles removed from Fujian’s large coastal cities, near Mount Wuyi. This is the real attraction, as the town is a gateway to the Wuyi Mountain National Nature Reserve. This site is renowned throughout China for its natural beauty and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1990s. Despite this it still has only a fraction of the fame of Guilin.
Inside the Mount Wuyi nature reserve there is a stunning landscape of rivers, mountain peaks, temples, waterfalls, tea fields and small villages. There are a slew of activities that allow tourists to experience the culture and scenery. Travel on a bamboo raft down the Nine-Bend River for a stunning display of mountain landscape, for instance. Hike to the top of Heavenly Tour Peak for amazing views and to visit its mountaintop temple. Learn about Noe-Confucianism in the park’s many temples, as this is where the philosophy began. Spend some time off the beaten trail exploring the valleys. And definitely try the area’s famed oolong tea Da Hong Pao.
The entrance to the park is only a short drive from the town of Wuyishan. Once inside the park transportation is via a series of regularly scheduled shuttle buses. These buses travel on clearly marked and color-coordinated routes, which makes it easy for tourists to navigate with the aid of a park map. It can be worthwhile to hire a tour guide in Wuyishan to guide your adventure in the park, as this makes it possible to learn more about Confucianism, tea and the local culture from a knowledgeable source.
Back in the town there’s not much to hold one’s attention, as there are a number of budget and mid-range hotels, but not much else on its dusty streets. That said, it’s still a good idea to spend at least two days to fully explore the nature reserve.
From the Wuyishan Airport there are regular flights to Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport and the Xiamen International Airport. There are also trains that arrive daily from Fuzhou and Xiamen.
So all in all how does it compare to Guilin? Well, the town of Wuyishan isn’t as well developed as Guilin and there’s not as much infrastructure in place in way of hostels and restaurants. The natural scenery, however, is every bit as beautiful as that in Guilin and Mount Wuyi receives a lot less international visitors, meaning it is still possible to find some solitude in the area.